Sunday, March 8, 2009

UW-Indiana thoughts

Nice to close out the regular season with a laugher. Get the seniors their own individual standing ovations. Get Morris Cain a bucket. Get Brett Valentyn a bucket for Pete's sake! Very nice.

To reiterate, our NCAA Tournament chances are solid -- good RPI, top-five strength of schedule, a winning record in our last 12 games -- so it shouldn't matter what happens against Ohio State on Friday.

-Here's the one disturbing thing about this game for me: the inability to stop Verdell Jones and Nick Williams. They are clearly the only two scoring threats Indiana has, and yet we were unable to stop them from getting good looks. They hit 13 of 19 field goals between them; they shot 54% from the field overall. That wouldn't have happened against any of our teams in recent years.

-Indiana's limited talent clearly shows up in its offensive performance, but they are apparently even worse defensively. Let's face it, any team that gives up 85 points to us is a sieve. And we did it with only two double-digit scorers.

-Nice moments for all the seniors. Nineteen points and nine boards for Krabby. Landry had six assists. Gully played 19 minutes and hit some nice baseline jumpers. Cain with his shot was a treat, nice moment for a good kid.

-Nineteen assists for the team, has to be a season high.

-Come on, Bo, please play Nankivil and Wilson earlier in games like this. They are going to need to step up big next year for us to keep this streak of success going, and any seasoning they get helps. There's pretty much no time left for them to get that PT this year, unfortunately.

-My mind kept drifting to next year during this game. Conventional wisdom says we will have many question marks and should struggle. But I can see Pop, J-Bo, and Leuer taking big steps forward, Nankivil and Wilson earning 20-plus minutes per game, and someone like Berggren becoming a limited contributor.

But first things first. As much as an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament might not be the worst thing in the world -- get some extra rest heading into the big one -- winning a game or two would do a world of good for these guys' confidence. They haven't been the most consistent bunch, but stringing together two complete games, regardless of outcome, would really help.

Ohio State is definitely beatable, although they figure to have many more fans at Conseco Fieldhouse than we will. Michigan State would likely be the semifinal opponent, and while beating them is a long shot, a strong showing against them would suffice.

Looking forward to the trip as usual, stay tuned for reports from the road later this week.

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